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Why Freshmen Chose Penn State

If you’re a high school senior looking for a sign to come to Penn State, here it is. As you await college acceptances and weigh the decision of where to call home for the next few years, you probably have some questions about what to look for in a school.

But fear not. Our freshmen staff members (proud members of #PSU2023!) were in your shoes just a year ago, and they have compiled what led them to Happy Valley.

Owen Abbey

Honestly, it’s the visit that sold me on Penn State. It was my last college visit, and I wasn’t sure about it coming in. But when I saw the campus and felt the atmosphere of everyone here, it just felt like home. On top of that, Penn State offers plenty of great opportunities for education majors, which I wanted to pursue.

As someone who wants to be a teacher, the alumni network and the preparation that Penn State provides is second to none. It made me extremely happy that there was a system in place for me after I graduate and head into the schools for the rest of my life.

Lastly, football. I know it’s basic, but honestly, it’s a big reason why I’m here today. I wanted a big sports school, and Penn State is just that. The spirit that football games provides radiates into academics and student life. Everything just seems better on a football Saturday, and that feeling makes campus a great place to be.

Ava Brendgord

Being from Texas, I get asked all the time why I came all the way to central Pennsylvania to attend Penn State. The short answer is my dad went here. The long answer is my dad went here and subtly brainwashed me all my life into being a Penn State fanatic. He claims that he never forced me to love Penn State, but when the Nittany Lion logo is scattered all around your house and your WiFi password is “WEAREPENNSTATE,” how could he expect me not to attend the best university in the world?

Now, my decision to come here wasn’t solely based on emotion. I have always wanted to go into journalism and Penn State has one of the best communications schools in the country. On top of that, Penn State’s community of graduates is enormous which provides a plethora of useful networking opportunities. To me, attending Penn State is the ultimate college experience complete with unforgettable football games, a huge library, and friends that will last a lifetime. I always tell people that it’s worth flying all the way from Texas to attend the happiest place on earth.

Dana Nunemacher

Thank you, Aunt Jan, for taking me to my very first Penn State football game when I was 12. I knew from the moment I set foot on campus that Penn State would be my home. I have never felt more at home than I have during these past 7 months.

There is such a sense of community and pride that flows through every student. The opportunities here are limitless, and I found that really important as a broadcast journalism major. I needed a place that would allow me to bloom and I have done exactly that. I love you, Dear Old State. 

Otis Lyons

I’m from California, and I often get weird looks and plenty of “Why are you here?”s from locals. However, I could not be more pleased with my decision one semester in. While traveling 3,000 miles to a remote college town in Central Pennsylvania was an unusual move for everyone else in my town, the sports-obsessed environment and Bellisario College of Communication made me strongly consider Penn State. The large campus swayed me from west coast destinations such as USC and Gonzaga (even though the Bulldogs don’t “h” nearly as much as Penn State).

Lily Whitmoyer

I grew up coming to Penn State and loving it, but that wasn’t the only reason I chose Penn State. I could list off the obvious. The alumni network is unparalleled and so are the on-campus involvement opportunities. The professors are knowledgeable and genuinely want students to succeed. The campus is alive, and you’re guaranteed to see a new face every day. Happy Valley has a culture of its own, and football games are sure to give you goosebumps.

For me, I can’t say coming to Penn State felt like a choice. Even though I was considering other colleges, there wasn’t another place that gave me that “feeling.” After considering all the pros and cons of cost, your program/major, student life, housing, and location, it comes down to where you can see yourself walking around on a random Tuesday afternoon. It comes down to which campus or college gives you that gut feeling.

Matt Noah

I chose Penn State because when I first visited the campus I knew right away that it was for me. I was looking for good communications schools, and although I did not originally have Penn State in the mix, the Bellisario College of Communications’ program really sold me. The campus is awesome, academics speak for themselves, and all the sports are worth watching.

There’s something special about the pride of being a Nittany Lion and cheering “We Are,” and that sense school spirit is what I was hoping to embrace a year ago. I do wish the location was a little closer to me because it is a seven-hour drive from home. Also, the culture shock of being frowned upon for rooting for the Patriots has been hard to overcome, but I’m doing just fine.

Alysa Rubin

I’m going to be honest: Penn State wasn’t my first choice school. Having applied to only three schools, I wasn’t really worried about where I would end up. I thought I had it all figured out. Then I got rejected from one of my schools, and my other school fell out of the cards. I was stuck on what to do, and I was worried I was making the wrong choice.

However, I realized that I had to commit somewhere. Penn State, compared to my other schools, offered me the most opportunities. I ended up committing to Penn State, and I couldn’t be happier. To those of you who may be worrying about where you’re going to end up, you are most certainly not alone. Just know you’re going to end up where you do for a reason (as cliché as it sounds), and that everything will turn out okay.

Lauren Wysseier

Growing up, I never pictured myself attending a university up north. My friends in school never stopped talking about their dreams of attending a school in the South and achieving the “ultimate college experience.” However, my dad is a Penn State alumnus and, of course, he always preached about how awesome the Penn State experience is.

As a high school senior, I applied to Penn State pretty much for fun, but I never really imagined myself taking the leap and moving from warm southwest Florida to central Pennsylvania. A year later, here I am: the poor soul from Florida struggling to make it to class without wiping out on the ice. I’m so grateful that I decided to come to Penn State; I’ve met so many new and interesting people that I never would have met if I stayed in-state. My first semester here was the best time of my life, and I’m so excited for the next few years!

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.


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